April 07, 2019

18-Year-Old Student Died of an Overdose Just Days after Medics Said She 'Wasn't Ill Enough'

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Afrika Yearwood was refused the mental health treatment she was asking for and ended her life tragically with an overdose.

Yearwood was the epitome of a young girl who knew how to have fun and was often called the “life and soul” of the party.  However, her happy highs, came with very low emotional crashes where she would suddenly turn dark and have suicidal tendencies and tell people she wanted to die.


She applied for mental health treatment but was not accepted with the NHS saying she was not sick enough to meet the criteria of someone who needed mental health care. Despite her repeated attempts, she only received a total of two hours and twenty-one minutes of support in the three months she was suffering.

Her mother, Beverly Yearwood, was aware of the situation and shared that her daughter was willing to try anything to heal.  She stepped in as her daughter’s condition worsened and she said,

“We got the letter from adult mental health services saying she had been refused and referred back to primary care. I was on the phone for 58 minutes asking ‘can you tell me please on what grounds you have refused?’”


She was told that “the threshold for adult services is very high and unfortunately she is not acutely ill enough.”

Afrika Yearwood took her own life with an overdose after losing trust in medical professionals. A note found in her room beneath her bed that read, 

“Why is everything around me so distressing.”


While an investigation was launched to find out more about how the system failed Yearwood, and understand the individual case of her condition to prevent it from happening again, it is clear that there is still so much to learn about mental health, and suicidal tendencies.


Such was the case for parents Dean and Alysia Valoras who lost their daughter Alexandra unexpectedly to suicide. It was only after the family found her private journal that they realized what was going on inside of her because she always seemed like a happy child. Alysia shared,

“There was so much joy in everything she did, and it doesn’t match what was in that diary.”

Alexandra’s final entry before she took her life said,

“Don’t blame yourselves for not seeing warning signs. I hid for a reason. I didn’t want you to know how deep in my own mess I was. So it wasn’t anyone’s lack of perception.”